Alcohol-free raves and nightclubs are booming, bringing mindfulness to the masses with hip hop meditation and yoga. It’s 7 a.m. in London and hundreds of ticket holders dressed in sequins and zany wigs are waiting to enter a “beach on the roof.” They’re lined up for the fourth anniversary of Morning Gloryville, “a sober rave.” It’s a cosmopolitan crowd of young families, urban creatives and Instagramming teens, who are foregoing alcoholic drinks and drugs for protein bars and Bikram yoga. The rave is held in a large open space decked out with posters featuring messages like “I am in charge of how I feel and today I’m choosing happiness.” As the morning activities get underway, couples lock lips, impromptu yoga sessions kick off and head massages are dispensed. A polyamorous collective appears dressed as glittering unicorns. All this is happening to the sound of DJ Fatboy Slim playing a set. It’s an event of extroversion for many, and of course, sobriety for all. Morning Gloryville was created by Samantha Moyo who wanted to recreate the feeling of communal thrills and escapism that comes with raving. These evenings quickly transformed from a simple project into an empire, attracting well-known DJs who had abandoned the excessive lifestyle of touring musicians. This type of event, like the Wanderlust series, has exploded onto the increasingly popular clean living scene. The club Awakening offers “conscious raves” where cacao and smoothies are served, and there are hip hop hot yoga classes and meditation sessions with expert gong practitioner Mona Ruijs of Sound Interventions. Similarly, there is an event that combines “guided group meditation” with “classic album listening parties”; a music festival with an eco spa; and a festival with a “deep listening, meditation, and laughter” class.
Wellness and music are now a mainstream and profitable mix. In the wake of the digital boom, record labels and music stores close as a result of piracy. Meanwhile, festivals and live events have merged with the global wellness market to stay afloat.
The Secret Yoga Club organizes yoga sessions where Simone Salvatici plays Tibetan bowls and shamanic percussion instruments that recall moving whale songs.
Wilderness Festival in Oxfordshire was one of the first to adopt the trend. Tessa Clarfelt, one of the event’s programmers, feels as if there were “a spiritual absence” in the lives of some music lovers before there were events like Morning Gloryville. “I think that the coming together and the community aspect of [events like Morning Gloryville] is a really large part of it,” says Clarfelt. “Once a month at 6 a.m., which is quite a ceremonial moment, the sun is coming up, you group together with people who are friends or people you don’t know, and you get this new connection,” she says. Instead of getting drunk, people are “warming up to [this] approach to well-being.”
Like any trend that has been co-opted by business, the link between music and clean living will soon begin to deteriorate while Instagram health gurus become a vestige of the past, however the marriage of spirituality and sound should endure. “Since the beginning of time music has been a spiritual experience,” says Moyo. Music reminds us that “there is still beauty, equilibrium, and a consciousness that isn’t perturbed by what’s going on in this fleeting global moment. If you’re trapped in the inner city, or a stressful relationship, ambient music can offer a fast way out.”
As the clock reaches 10 a.m., I start to think there is something oddly rebellious about sober people dancing their way to ecstatic joy.
Adapted from theguardian.com
Last modified: October 26, 2018